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How to write a novel | English Countryside


July first 016

If you are following this series of blog about writing fiction. You will know the story so far. Nick’s parents were killed in America and he now hates all things American. He is going to sell everything and travel around the English countryside, until me meets an American woman and forms a love-hate relationship with her. I think that gives us a basis for a romantic adventure with lots of twists and turns. I still need a name for the woman and I need a starting point for this journey.

I think the choice of the English countryside is good. Write about what you know, but use lots of artistic licence. I can make up some places and the people will be fictitious. I think the starting point for the story could be the suburbs of a city. Which city, though? I think I’ll choose Birmingham, because I know it a little and it’s as good a place as any. That is a real city and so adds authenticity to the story; it makes it plausible. I don’t think I’ll be too specific about where he lives though. Somewhere near the airport I think, that is sufficiently vague, but there is enough information for the reader to imagine the sort of suburban environment that he has lived in.

Now I have to decide the tense of the story; I favour past tense. I like to write in the first person, so Nick himself would be the narrator. Maybe this time, I can have a omnipotent narrator, a narrator who is all knowing and all seeing; who even knows what my characters are thinking. So Nick sells everything, his parents house, puts furniture and things that he may need in the future into storage and buys a camper van. His parents were quite well off and so he would have an inheritance or at least an large pay-out from their accident and travel insurance. He would have enough money to buy the camper van and make investments that would give him a small income while on his travels. What do you think of the ideas, so far? These little details make the story plausible, but it still needs descriptions to show the reader what is going on.

That morning, Nick took delivery of the camper van. It had everything, but then it should; it cost enough. He climbed aboard to thoroughly inspect it making sure the cooker and other items in the kitchen worked. It was very nice inside, all mod cons, even a tiny bathroom with shower. The main bed pulled out and although smaller than he was used to, looked quite comfortable. Nick couldn’t wait to try driving it and made himself comfortable in the drivers seat. He felt like he was a airline pilot, he was so high up and the camper van was so big. He started the engine and it growled, as diesel engines do. Nick nervously pulled of the driveway and headed for the motorway, it was quite easy to drive; much easier than he had expected. As he turned into the roundabout and approached the motorway, he felt the rear wheel get caught on the pavement. He made a mental note to take corners wider and allow for the length of the camper van, which was close to thirty feet. Nick felt more comfortable as he sped along the motorway and could even glance at the scenery as the motorway meandered through the English countryside. He switched on the stereo system and found to his delight that there was a disk in of one of his favourite bands. He sang along to the tune as he watched the road signs for places he wanted to visit flash by. South to Warwick, to the ancient town complete with castle. He wanted to go there, but for now he had things to do before he could set off on his adventure. He must go back and tidy up the loose ends, but now he couldn’t wait to get going.

That is not well written of course, it takes quite a lot of reading and editing just to get one paragraph perfect. Many writers don’t pay enough attention to editing, but that is the final polish to any work. You get the general idea of the story and the need to make it plausible and involve the reader. You need to fire the reader’s imagination and keep them involved. I would need some accuracy in the story and so I would have Nick take the M40 motorway before mentioning Warwick and it’s castle. Some readers might be familiar with the motorway network!

I still need a name for the young American woman, I like Lily. What do you think? What adventures can Nick get up to in the English countryside? Most importantly where is the story leading, what will be the ending. Maybe, he could end up in America? That would be a twist. The story could end with him starting a new adventure, a road trip across America with Lily?  When you are writing a novel, you are only bound by the limitations of your imagination.

If you missed last weeks episode, check it out. Please do comment and you can click like, share with your friends and I will be posing more tips on writing in general on a Zillion Ideas, later. There are lots of other fascinating blogs to read on there too. Now fire up your imagination and think of an ending for my story, comment below…

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9 responses

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